Rewiring Mindsets, Inclusive Approaches Needed for Sustainable Women Empowerment

Several senior government officials, business leaders, philanthropists, behavioral scientists and storytellers have highlighted women’s positive and multidimensional contribution to society. They also offered solutions to combat gender discrimination and the active role men can play in advocating for gender equality.

The forum called for immediate policy action to enable more equal and family-friendly work environments and better work-life balance for working parents. Additionally, the event showcased how some governments are putting women at the heart of their recovery programs to build back better and create resilient and inclusive societies for all.

Speakers included: HE Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to the Emirates; HE Mona Ghanim Al-Marri, Vice-Chair of the UAE Gender Balance Council; SAR Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al Saudphilanthropist and gender equality advocate at Alwaleed Philanthropies; Krister NilssonState Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs of SwedenMateja Ribič, State Secretary to the Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia; Mr. Stefan Schleuning, Head of Unit at the Service for EU Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI); Doctor Mouza Al ShehhiDirector of the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC and Veronica Squinzi, CEO of Mapei.

In her keynote address, Her Excellency Mona Ghanim Al-Marri, Vice Chairperson of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “We would like to thank the European Union Delegation and its partners for organizing this event, bringing together leaders and experts from around the world to engage in thought-provoking dialogues that will further strengthen the influence of women. ne of our main goals at the UAE Gender Balance Council is to transform the discussions that take place throughout these events into effective and collaborative partnerships, concrete plans and actionable strategies that realize women’s full potential and strengthen their vital role in socio-economic development throughout the world.”

Her Excellency added: “Today, Government Leaders are more aware than ever that empowering women economically and achieving gender balance are critical to advancing sustainable economies, advancing national development and build prosperous societies.Based on our experience in the UAE, and in particular the UAE Gender Balance Council, we have worked to improve women’s economic rights by referring to the global reports and understanding best practices for women in the economy.We remain hopeful that with collective efforts and actions, we will continue to make significant strides towards empowering women across the world. “

Addressing the first panel, entitled Empowering women at all stages of their professional careers, HE Stella Ronner-Grubačić, EU Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, said: “To achieve lasting change and advancing women’s leadership in socio-economic and political decision-making, we need an inclusive and comprehensive approach, involving men and boys. We also need our own heightened awareness that we want things to change and that we need to start now.”

Speaking at the second panel, entitled “Family-friendly policies and fairer sharing of childcare”, Mateja Ribič, State Secretary to the Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia, said: “Slovenia has one of the best family policies in the world. Projects such as “Action papa” encourage both parents to be equally involved in the upbringing and care of a child. In addition, thanks to a well-regulated kindergarten system, which allows a rapid transition of women into the labor market, Slovenia has had the highest proportion of full-time employed women with young children in the EU for decades, while enjoying a low level of the pay gap.”

As part of his interventions on panel 3 entitled “Political action and exchange of good practices”, Krister NilssonState Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs of Swedensaid: “Empowering women is key to sustainable development, and there is also overwhelming evidence that gender equality drives economic growth. Sweden has a feminist government that pursues a feminist foreign policy with a clear focus on the rights, representation and resources of women and girls. A gender perspective is at the heart of all our work, including trade policy. Gender equality is not only good for society, but also good for business. “

Hind Alowais, Vice President of International Attendees Department at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Women’s Pavilion by Expo 2020 Dubai, in collaboration with Cartier, is pleased to create a space to host important conversations with important partners. . The session on “Women and Career Progression” highlighted the necessary strategies and policies, such as childcare facilities, flexible working hours and quotas to promote more women in leadership positions. However, if the goal is true and irreversible gender equality, we need to shift the cogs of culture, rewire our mindsets, and tackle the visible and invisible social norms and biases that hold women back.”

The event was organized in partnership with the Embassies of Slovenia, Spain, Swedenthe General Commissariat of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai and UN Women and organized at the Women’s Pavilion by Expo 2020 Dubai in collaboration with Cartier.

Participants were also invited to a networking lunch hosted by SE Liselott Andersson, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden in UAE and HE Andrea Matteo FontanaEU Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates at the Swedish pavilion, while opening the “Emirati Dads” photo exhibition by renowned Swedish photographer Johan Bävman.

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SOURCE The European Delegation in the UAE

Mara R. Wilmoth